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August 04, 2016

Chicago United Way Chapter Hit by Executive Exodus

Five leading officials left the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago in the space of 10 months recently, an exodus the organization says contributed to flat fundraising in fiscal year 2016, Crain’s Chicago Business writes. Vice presidents in charge of major gifts and resource development were among the departing leaders, all of whom left for higher-level posts at other nonprofits

The exits were coincidental but not entirely surprising, said Wendy DuBoe, the chapter’s CEO. She said most of the departing executives had been in senior roles for at least two years and that the Chicago United Way is fertile ground for headhunters because of its size and brand recognition.

While two of the five slots were filled quickly, the leadership dearth appears to have set the chapter back on fundraising: After two years of revenue increases, the chapter’s fiscal 2016 take of $57 million was on par with the previous year’s. “If we had had senior staff in place for a couple more months, that would have helped,” Ms. DuBoe said.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy case study on retaining fundraisers.